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A Brief Review of Lunesta for Insomnia Treatment

Lunesta medication

A Brief Review of Lunesta for Insomnia Treatment

Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs.

Studies have revealed that adults suffer from insomnia frequently: about 70 million [1*] Americans have such issues. Sleeplessness can be caused by various factors: stress, anxiety, physical ailments like heart disease or arthritis, chronic medical conditions, some medications, irregular sleep schedules, and others.

The loss of sleep negatively affects the quality of life. That is why different treatment options are offered to patients. When psychotherapy seems to be ineffective, a doctor may prescribe medications. One of the most common options is Lunesta. Below, let’s learn more about it.

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What Is Lunesta®?

The Lunesta sleeping pill helps adults fall asleep faster and sleep better, with fewer wakeups [2*] during the night. It manages chemical imbalances in the brain that can impact sleep patterns. It is believed to produce its effects by interacting with GABA receptor complexes that are located in the vicinity of benzodiazepine receptors.

Lunesta’s main ingredient and generic name is eszopiclone. This drug is classified as a miscellaneous anxiolytic and a sedative-hypnotic. Lunesta is prescribed as a short-term solution to sleeplessness but can be used long-term if certain prerequisites are met, and dosage is carefully monitored.

Warnings and Contraindications

Eszopiclone (Lunesta) is not prescribed for anyone under the age of 18. Other factors that may influence the decision to prescribe Lunesta include:

  • Alcohol or narcotic use/addiction
  • Breathing problems
  • Depression
  • Liver disease
  • Mental illness
  • Suicidal thoughts

The doctor will also ask you about taking other medications, vitamins, and topical applications to prevent the possibility of negative interactions. For example, Saint John’s Wort has shown evidence of drug interaction with Lunesta, so its use must be mentioned.

Also, Lunesta shouldn’t be taken by those with a known allergy to eszopiclone. Users experiencing allergy symptoms should discontinue use immediately. These can include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hives
  • Swelling (face, lips, throat, tongue)

Intake and Storage Recommendations

Lunesta should be taken on an empty stomach and never after a heavy, high-fat meal. Users should take it immediately before bedtime with at least 7-8 hours to sleep.

Finally, Lunesta should always be stored safely, away from children. It should never be frozen and kept in a tightly closed container away from heat, humidity, and direct sunlight. Lunesta should not be shared with others.

Discuss your symptoms and health history with insomnia doctor to get the medication that will work best for you.

Lunesta Side Effects

Some eszopiclone users have experienced “blackouts;” these are moments or conversations that can’t later be recalled. Any short-term memory loss should be discussed with the prescribing physician.

Another side effect is feeling “draggy” or sleepy after waking up in the morning. Users should avoid scheduling early-morning activities until they are familiar with morning-after reactions to Lunesta. Activities to monitor can include driving, machinery operation, piloting aircraft, or any other activities that demand alertness and attention to detail.

Other Lunesta side effects [3*] can include:

  • Bitter, metallic, or unpleasant taste on the tongue
  • Cold-like symptoms (runny nose, chills, cough, etc.)
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Heartburn/indigestion

Alcohol use can increase the frequency or severity of side effects. Likewise, the dietary supplement melatonin, often used as a sleep aid, can increase side effects, including concentration difficulty, confusion, dizziness, and drowsiness. Side effects in older adults can include problems with judgment, motor skills, and thinking.

Lunesta side effects

Lunesta Dosage

It’s important to follow instructions for all prescription medications, including eszopiclone. A common Lunesta dosage is one 1-milligram pill daily; the maximum daily dose is 3 mg. The tablet itself should be taken whole and not broken or crushed. Misusing Lunesta can lead to overdose or even death. If the symptoms of overdose are present, contact medical help immediately.

Overdose symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty breathing (fast or slow, irregular, shallow)
  • Disorientation
  • Pale or blue fingernails, lips, or skin
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unusual drowsiness

Suddenly stopping this medication after long-term use can lead to withdrawal. Users may need to gradually decrease the nighttime dosage to stop using it.

Even though Lunesta is a controlled substance, it is a safe, effective solution to adult sleep disorders. Taking it exactly as prescribed greatly reduces the risk of addiction.

Lunesta dosage is chosen individually. Contact a doctor online to know how to manage your symptoms.

Lunesta vs. Ambien®: Which Is Better?

Even though Lunesta and Ambien have different main ingredients (eszopiclone and zolpidem tartrate, respectively), both drugs work basically the same way. They help the brain enable a restful night’s sleep. Only a doctor can choose the most effective medication based on your symptoms and other aspects. Still, it is beneficial to know the advantages of each medicine.

Lunesta Pros:

  1. Common side effects are similar, but according to DailyMed [4*] , some Ambien users experience grogginess with 3% greater frequency and constipation with 2% greater frequency.
  2. Lunesta lasts 6 hours longer than Ambien.
  3. Lunesta reaches peak efficiency 15 minutes faster than Ambien.
  4. Lunesta’s cash price ($586) is less than Ambien’s ($724) for a 30 days supply.
  5. The generic version (eszopiclone) is covered by Medicare Part D.
  6. Typical Medicare co-pay ($1-$5) is better than Ambien ($0-$2).

Ambien Pros:

  1. A 14% higher frequency of headaches may occur with Lunesta users than with Ambien users.
  2. The generic version (zolpidem) is available in different forms, such as oral spray and sublingual tablet.
  3. Ambien has an extended-release version.
  4. The generic version is covered by Medicare Part D.

Note – The frequency of side effects is based on limited user experience, not head-to-head clinical trials. Consult your doctor or pharmacist in case of any questions on side effects.

In Conclusion

In 2004, Lunesta [5*] was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for late-life insomnia and sleep disturbances. Today, the Lunesta medication has shown high effectiveness in treating adult sleep disorders. Ask your doctor about the most suitable medication or other treatment options for insomnia. If you experience other symptoms apart from sleep disturbances, tell the doctor about them too. Insomnia can be connected with mood disorders, and the earlier you start treating them, the faster you feel better.


+5 sources
  1. About Our Program. (2022)
    Source link
  2. Eszopiclone for insomnia. (2018)
    Source link
  3. Lunesta (Eszopiclone) Side Effects, Addiction & Dangers. (2022)
    Source link
  4. AMBIEN- zolpidem tartrate tablet, film coated. (2019)
    Source link
  5. Eszopiclone for late-life insomnia. (2007)
    Source link
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology
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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

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This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.